Information Communication Technology (ICT) has a great potential to improve revenue collection by automating processes, better servicing taxpayers and increasing compliance. That’s why, ZIMRA is working on the development and implementation of ICT in its tax collection process to ultimately reduce or replace humans. The country’s tax collector, ZIMRA that this initiative is one way of reducing corruption by its employees and increasing tax collection efficiency. ZIMRA commissioner-general Faith Mazani said;
Zimra has invested in ICT to improve our efficiency and service delivery to our taxpaying public, but this also provides an audit trail to trace any irregular activities. We are also working on enhancing our ICT capabilities to remove human interface with our staff that promotes rent-seeking behaviours, especially at our border posts.
Cases of corruption of ZIMRA employees are well known outside mainstream media reporting. If one doesn’t want to pay full duty or tax or they want to smuggle, they just must bribe a ZIMRA employee. But with the implementation of technology for managing boarder posts activities and collecting taxes, these “rent-seeking” behaviors could be sidelined. Athough, ZIMRA has tried to curb corruption by its employees through monitoring their lifestyles, corruption, in both forms I have highlighted above is still happening.
In 2015, the ZIMRA introduced e-Services platform which allows taxpayers to file tax returns via the internet. No doubt this e-Services platform has reduced human interaction in the tax collection processes and subsequently improved the flow of the tax collection process. However, long term gains will only be possible if ZIMRA adopts more technology (thus removing some humans) in its operations.
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